Breadlines Knee Deep in Wheat
When food demand increased worldwide after World War I, American farmers expanded production. But falling incomes and widespread unemployment in the Depression drove down the prices of basic staples — some dropping as much as 50%. Farm families could not sell their crops without incurring massive losses, creating overwhelming surpluses that many farmers chose to destroy or leave to rot in the fields. The combination of overproduction and underconsumption created what Oklahoma-based writer Oscar Ameringer described as a “plague of plenty,” leading to a rapid uptick in rural poverty.
Poppendieck, Janet. Breadlines Knee Deep in Wheat: Food Assistance in the Great Depression. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2014.
Galleries & Exhibits
- 11865-1925: Hunger in the Industrial City
- 21929-1940: America in Crisis and Recovery
- 31945-1965: WWII and the Paradoxes of the Postwar Era
- 41955-1980: The Fight for the Right to Food
- 51975-1996: The Unmaking of the Great Society
- 61997-Present: How It Is — And How It Should Be